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Back up your PC's files for free with these 3 tools

Ian Paul | Oct. 29, 2014
Regular backups are often the only thing that can save your bacon when a hard drive failure or otherwise catastrophic PC meltdown occurs. If your files go poof, they're gone forever unless you've safely stashed copies elsewhere.

For a more detailed look check out PCWorld's tutorial of SyncBack Free.

SyncBack Free lets you schedule times to run your backups via the built-in Task Scheduler in Windows.

Digging into the command line

If you're not afraid of getting your hands dirty on the command line then try the Rsync utility via Cygwin, a Linux-style command line for Windows.

Rsync is a do-it-yourself option since you'll have to decide on the commands you use. But the appeal of Rsync is that it's been around for years, is very solid, and isn't subject to radical change. In other words, it's really boring and does its job — which is exactly what you want in a backup utility.

Truth be told, using Rsync isn't that hard. In fact, you can get it working with just one line of code. I use Rsync for my own backups with this simple instruction on the Cygwin command line:

rsync -auv "/cygdrive/c/Users/[user folder name]/" "/cygdrive/d/Rsync"

Basically, what this says is start Rsync, copy my entire user folder but only new files or files that have changed, and don't erase anything. The last little bits that start with "cygdrive" tell Cygwin and Rsync which drives to copy (my entire user folder) and where to copy it to (Drive D:/).

That's it. Rysnc's nothing fancy but it works very well. For a more complete tutorial on using Rsync with Windows check out this tutorial on YouTube.

Backing up can be a pain, but with the right tools you can set it up once, forget about it, and rest easy that your files are protected from the dreaded darkness of oblivion.


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